UGC moots 20 women universities

UGC moots 20 women universities

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has proposed setting up 20 new universities exclusively for women in the 12th Five Year Plan, seeking to give a fillip to their participation in higher education across the country.

File photo

“Women’s education is another priority area of focus. Twenty women’s universities are proposed to be established facilitating their entry into higher education even from very traditional background and rural and sub-urban areas,” the higher education regulator has said in its 12th Five Year Plan proposal.

The commission noted that “certain” sections of the country’s population were still not open to the idea of sending girls to co-educational institutions, thus depriving them of the benefits of higher education for their empowerment.

“There could be some disagreements on opening exclusive women’s universities, the idea was included because of the social dynamics of our system. In certain pockets, therefore, to put such exclusive institutions of higher education for women may act as a fillip to the participation of girls in higher education,” it said.

The issue has to be addressed for giving better access to women in higher education by providing more hostels and colleges for them in districts with higher gender gap in gross enrollment rate (GER).

“The central government may have to fund for the establishment of women universities in the 12th plan and state governments may provide the land and help to establish such universities,” the higher education regulator suggested.

Although, the participation of women in higher education has witnessed a significant increase over the years, it is still less than that of men. In 2009, according to the UGC, women’s participation in higher education was 41.4 per cent.

The commission has also recommended formulation of a new scheme for giving stipend to women in higher education. The UGC proposal meant to attract more women towards higher education from the states where the rural or urban gross enrollment rate of the fairer sex is more than 5 per cent lower than the men. “This stipend may be awarded to girl students from rural or urban areas, as the case may be, who score higher than a certain grade in earlier public examination and having family income less than a certain specified level,” the UGC suggested in its plan proposal.

The proposed stipend should be given to the students in addition to their tuition fee waiver, it added. It has also recommended setting up of evening universities and colleges for all to increase intake in higher education. For the employed class candidates, it has recommended shift system of courses in colleges.